We’ve all experienced the joy of going on a shopping trip. The psychological boost retail therapy can provide has been well established. However, we often end up purchasing items we don’t even need or want, simply to fill a void we recognize as a need to consume. This often leads to purchases we regret, or at the very least, don’t fully understand.
Practicing being a little more aware of your shopping habits can save you money, time, space, and a lot of hassle. Here are a few tips to help you avoid falling into the consumerism trap.
It’s easy to become seduced by a store or marketing campaign in the heat of the moment. This can lead to impulse buys, or paying over the odds for goods we’d already budgeted for. It’s not surprising we’re so easily manipulated, after all, humans are emotional creatures, and marketers, store designers, and retailers are all doing their best to manipulate our senses to increase their bottom line.
Once we are aware of this manipulation and acknowledge our own shortcomings, we have reached a point where we can move forward. We can start to build a resistance to the marketing and atmospheric tactics employed against us. A good way to begin is to devise a series of questions you must ask yourself before every purchase. How long have I wanted this item? Do I need this item? Why do I want/need this item? Can I afford to make this purchase now?
Use Credit Wisely
Many people think using a credit card is far from hoping wisely. However, if you use a cash back card it can be very smart indeed. If you’re wondering how do cash back credit cards work, basically, when you make a purchase using your card, a certain percentage will be credited back to you, thus your goods will cause you less overall.
Set some rules
There are many ways we can be manipulated. We must learn to be cautious of anything that claims to be free! When you’re purchasing clothes or groceries, you can either purchase them online in advance or at least identify the items you want to purchase before visiting the shop. This will reduce the chance of you making impulse purchases or going over budget.
Be careful who you shop with. Shopping trips can be like a social engagement with friends, but this can be a deadly mixture. Other people can influence your buying decisions, and this group mentality can take over your better judgment, leaving you sitting at home with bags of purchases you didn’t need, wondering what you were thinking and how you’re going to pay your way this month. Choosing shopping partners wisely can help you to mitigate this potential disaster.
Treat yourself occasionally
Frugal shopping trips can be hard to stomach for a seasoned pro. Having something to look forward to can help to keep us motivated. Book a massage or identify a piece of clothing want, and if you meet your self imposed shopping limits for a pre-determined amount of time, then treat yourself.
Experiences are often more rewarding than items. Treating yourself to a cooking class or other experience you’re interested in, can help you connect with people on a human level and build memories that will stay with you longer than those clothes that now live at the back of your wardrobe and never see the light of day.